“Art has allowed me to fulfil my impossible dreams.”

Born 1982, Shenyang, Liaoning. Lives and works in Beijing.

Cong Lingqi’s father was an electrician and a habitual tinkerer, and she recalls being happier helping him with handyman jobs than playing with her friends. That familiarity with tools and hardware shows in her works, which often have a mechanical twist. Her 2009 installation To Avoid the Loss of Vision—Li Feng’s Landscape of Fragrant Hills translated a blind woman’s impressions of a scenic spot into Braille letters engraved on the revolving discs of a music box. Set in motion, these generate not only music but an electric-green graph of the sound waves. Making the work was “like doing an experiment,” the artist says. For Dust (2008), she made tiny, brightly coloured replicas of 210 common objects as varied as a wok, a mosquito coil, a pair of pliers and an electric drill, and suspended them in the beam of a brilliant spotlight that casts their crowded shadows onto a moon-like circle on the wall. The aim was to translate things taken for granted into blurry images of fantasy, “just like a person’s memory”, Cong Lingqi explains. “The light, objects, shadows and reflection on the wall, everything was carefully planned so viewers will feel as if they’re dreaming and looking at their past.”

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